IGN tries TV on the Web with always-on video channel

Gaming property IGN is rolling out a new 24-hour video channel called IGN1, which it hopes will drive more consistent and engaged viewership on its own platforms throughout the day.

Launching today on IGN.com, the channel does a passable imitation of TV. There are live and taped original IGN shows airing throughout the day and a program guide that tells viewers what’s on air at that time as well as what’s coming up. (That said, while always on, the channel will also allow users to go back and watch content that has already aired.)

IGN, part of Ziff Davis, produces more than 1,300 videos per month, including live gameplay streams, news shows, review videos and other live and on-demand content. This content will be programmed into themed 15-minute, 30-minute and hour-long blocks — just like TV. The channel is mostly a way to package together existing programming — right now, there’s no new content being produced specifically for IGN1.

“We see this as us figuring out an identity for our core desktop and mobile channels,” said Peer Schneider, co-founder and gm of IGN, of the publisher’s decision to develop a TV-like video product. “We wanted to provide something that takes the decision-making process out of enjoying our videos.”

IGN1 has Coca-Cola on board as a launch sponsor. The advertiser plans to air 15-second spots for its weekly eSports news show with IGN, “ESports Weekly.” For other advertisers, in addition to pre-rolls and mid-rolls, the channel will also offer standard “brought to you by” overlays.

While IGN has wholly embraced social platforms — on YouTube it has 6.6 million subscribers; on Facebook it has nearly 3.2 million fans — it wants to increase watch time on its own desktop and mobile properties. According to comScore, IGN had 16.7 million unique visitors in the U.S. in September 2015. In terms of video viewership, comScore data shows IGN.com had more than 2.1 million unique U.S. viewers in September.

According to Schneider, desktop accounts for only half of IGN’s total viewership. The rest is evenly split between the mobile website and IGN’s apps for mobile and connected TVs. While IGN1 is initially rolling out on its desktop and mobile websites, the publisher plans to introduce the 24-hour stream on its mobile and TV apps in the first quarter of 2016, said IGN’s svp of product, Todd Northcutt.

In an effort to drive viewers to the channel, IGN also plans to air new original content first on IGN1 before syndicating to other platforms. (For those visiting the website, IGN.com will also feature “persistent placement” alerting viewers to what’s airing at that time on the channel.)


In an effort to keep those viewers around, however, IGN1 comes with a live chat feature right next to the video player. This is an important part of the channel for IGN, which will routinely bring in on-air talent to chat with fans as their programming airs.

“Our core data shows that a user who comments on our website watches twice as many videos and consumes three times as many articles,” said Schneider. “It’s a valuable audience that will consume more content, so we want to give them a new reason to come back, linger and talk to each other.”

Image via IGN on YouTube


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